A Game of Artifact Associations
Infinite Possibilities is a non-competitive poetic game in
which everyday artifactual detritus is allowed to reveal
its marvelous meaningfulness. It is a game of unexpected
relationships and associative thinking.
How to Play:
This game can be played with any number of players, even just one. To begin, each player selects eight (8) objects from the collection. This is the "hand" that they will play from.
Choose someone to go first. She will place an object of her choice from her "hand" into any white circle on the board. Going clockwise, players then take turns choosing one of the objects in their hand and playing it into any available white circle. For each play, the player explains out loud the association they see between their newly played object and the existing objects in other connected circles. The first play is a "freebie" with no explanation needed. And with each person's turn, the potential meanings of the artifacts on the game board begin anew.
Sometimes a play will only involve one association, and other times - like in the middle position - it will involve up to four (4)! The sky is the limit is terms of criteria for sense-making and there are no right or wrong answers. A good play is more about the interestingness and richness of the connection.
Throughout the game, each time you play a piece from your hand, you get to choose a new object from the collection so that you always have an inventory of eight (8). Players take turns playing objects into the empty white circles until the game board is filled and then pieces are swapped out one at a time instead of played into empty spots. There is no winner and no true end. Simply play as long as you like!
A few examples of poetic associations with artifacts:
1) pen nib ----> whistle
Why? A pen nib looks a lot like a bird's beak and birds whistle and sing. One could think of the trail of ink left by a pen nib as the invisible path of a bird song in the air.
2) plastic dinosaur ----> "Life" car game piece
Why? Cars are powered by oil which is buried deep in the earth like dinosaur bones.
3) toy compass ----> "Home" computer key
Why? A compass can guide us home, literally or metaphorically. And once we're there, we may need a key to unlock the door.
This game can be played by all ages and skill levels because the associations can be simple or complex. For example, a small child might connect a banana to a piece of yellow thread because they are both yellow, while someone else might connect the two because the thread is like a fiber running through a banana peel. A third person might connect the two because a long yellow thread can represent the long path it takes for a banana to come all the way from the tropics to our kitchen.
Different game board configurations can also go from simple to complex. If you want to make an easier board for younger players, consider just having one ring of connected circles with nothing in the middle. This way, the child will never have to find more than two associations as part of the same play.
We hope to have fabric gameboards for sale in the shop soon, but for now you can start collecting game pieces and just draw a game board on paper that looks like the one to the left. Or stitch your own on fabric like I did. (If you'd like to be notified when boards are available in the shop, please sign up for our occasional "Curios & Projects" update at the bottom of this page.)